Doncaster Rovers 0 Blackpool 1 - Rovers caught out late on as Darren Moore’s unbeaten start ends

Darren Moore suffered his first league defeat as Doncaster Rovers manager as an injury-time sucker-punch from Blackpool brought an end to Rovers’ unbeaten start to the season.

Armand Gnanduillet scores Blackpool's injury-time winner against 
Doncaster Rovers.
(Picture: Bruce Rollinson)
Armand Gnanduillet scores Blackpool's injury-time winner against Doncaster Rovers. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Armand Gnanduillet came off the bench to bundle in a 92nd-minute winner for visitors Blackpool.

It was harsh on a Rovers side that had enjoyed the better of the attacking play yet struggled for the creative spark which has driven them on early in this campaign.

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As demonstrated by some of the sublime football they played against Ipswich Town at the weekend, Rovers are a side that relishes the opportunity to play between the lines.

Jay Spearing takes out Kieran Sadlier of Doncaster Rovers (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

To do that, there needs to be space between those lines in which to operate and Blackpool were simply in no mood to afford Rovers such a luxury.

Well-organised, their back three quickly became a back five whenever Rovers were in possession. And the three central midfielders shifted into a buffer, with each taking turns to charge out and press as Rovers brought the ball into the Blackpool half.

Ben Whiteman and Ben Sheaf in particular were targeted by the opposition and were pressed immediately when in possession, denying them the chance to start attacks.

It led to a frustrating time for Rovers – reflected when they looked to go a little more direct on occasion with Blackpool’s towering back line only too happy to nod lofted balls away.

Niall Ennis chases the ball after being denied by Jak Alnwick as Doncaster lost to Blackpool. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Patience was required. And to Rovers’ credit, they showed it.

It became all about finding a bit of magic to unlock some space with the search largely fruitless.

Blackpool’s threat came early in the first half. Joe Nuttall scuffed an early effort wide after a marauding run.

Rovers suffered an early blow with Matty Blair forced off after just 17 minutes due to injury with Alfie May replacing him.

The moments of magic were scarce but Jon Taylor was released into space after a neat one-two with Reece James. He then found Niall Ennis in the middle but the Wolves loanee saw his shot deflected wide. The pattern of the game continued into the second half as Rovers were able to push higher into Blackpool territory.

One such move saw Brad Halliday slide a pass into the box for Ben Whiteman, who saw his low strike tipped wide.

Rovers then began to look at little nervy as Blackpool’s Jordan Thompson drilled wide.

Rovers’ best opportunity came when Ennis latched onto a ball over the top, touched it past Alnwick and hooked towards goal only for Curtis Tilt to block.

The hosts looked the more likely to win it with Alfie May and Taylor both seeing strikes pushed wide.

Rovers were caught out at the death when substitute Sully Kaikai burst out from his own half before clipping a ball into the box where Gnanduillet headed home from close range.

Doncaster Rovers: Lawlor; Halliday, Anderson, John, James; Whiteman, Sheaf; Blair (May 17), Sadlier (Coppinger 70), Taylor; Ennis. Unused substitutes: Dieng, Daniels, Gomes, Longbottom, Kiwomya.

Blackpool: Alnwick; Edwards, Heneghan, Tilt; Feeney, Virtue (Guy 86), Spearing, Thompson, Husband; Nuttall (Kaikai 74), Hardie (Gnanduillet 75). Unused substitutes: Sims, Bushiri, Scannell, Turton.

Referee: A Coggins (Oxfordshire).